The Patience Muscle
The Speedy Urge
When I am learning something new there is often a sensation of urgency that will come over me. In the moment it seems to me like speed is required. I notice that when I take this thinking as truth, I attempt to scan through documentation quicker so that I can find the nuggets quicker. When I observe the feeling in these moments it feels like desperation to me. It feels like an urge to quicken the process. In these moments I also notice that my thinking is not helpful and I struggle to comprehend the things I am attempting to speed read.
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. - Bruce Lee
In these moments of felt urgency, I find what is needed is a level head. When I can avoid getting wrapped up in this thinking I can then concentrate on the task at hand with a clear head. When I am consistently learning from a relaxed space I can break the process into small chunks more effectively and these chunks inevitably add up to a long term skill.
When I was learning French I found what really helped accelerate my learning was having a cool head. I noticed that whenever I tried too hard to understand the individual words I would very often not understand the conversation. I found that in these situations my body felt tense and I would experience a lot of self critical thinking. I noticed that when I changed my intention towards understanding the meaning behind the words rather than the individual words themselves then I was able to relax more and I was able to converse more fluidly. In these moments I had very little self critical thinking and I was more in a state of flow, enjoying the moment for what it was and retaining whatever information that my level could handle.
The Patience Muscle
I find that it helps to perceive patience as a muscle rather than as a virtue. When I see patience as a virtue it seems like people either have it or they don't. However, when I perceive it as a muscle I can see that everyone has some level of it and that level can increase with consistent practice. I can visualise my patience muscle getting stronger with practice just like my body's muscles get stronger from consistently being worked out. It means that in the moments where I feel impatient I can say to myself forget about it, there is always next time.
Do you sometimes get flustered when learning a new skill? Would you like to have a clearer head? If you have any insights, questions or recommendations feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.